Chromatin regulation plays a pivotal role in establishing and maintaining cellular identity and is one of the top pathways disrupted in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The hippocampus, composed of distinct cell types, is often affected in patients with ASD. However, the specific hippocampal cell types and their transcriptional programs that are dysregulated in ASD are unknown. Using single-nucleus RNA sequencing, we show that the ASD gene, lysine demethylase 5A (KDM5A), regulates the development of specific subtypes of excitatory and inhibitory neurons. We found that KDM5A is essential for establishing hippocampal cell identity by controlling a differentiation switch early in development. Our findings define a role for the chromatin regulator KDM5A in establishing hippocampal cell identity and contribute to the emerging convergent mechanisms across ASD.